On Wednesday, October 25, Judge Vince Chhabria, federal district court in San Francisco, rejected a request for a  preliminary injunction by 18 states and the District of Columbia to compel the Trump Administration to continue to pay cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to health insurance companies.  Judge Chhabria concluded:  (i) States have been preparing for months for termination of the CSR payments and thus low-income people will not be irreparably harmed by termination of the payments; and (ii) “both sides have reasonable arguments” on the main legal question – whether Congress appropriated money for the CSR payments. 

During the week of October 15, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced in the U.S. Senate the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017.  The bill would provide short term funding for the CSR payments, expand access to lower-cost, catastrophic health plans, and provide states greater flexibility in obtaining Medicaid waivers.  On October 25, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the legislation, if enacted as proposed, would reduce the federal deficit by $3.8 billion over ten years (2018 – 2027) and would not substantially change the number of people with health insurance coverage.

On October 24, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced that they had reached an agreement to fund CSR payments for two years and temporarily eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate and employer mandate.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions will hold a hearing this Tuesday, October 31, entitled “Implementation of the 21st Century Care Act:  Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued Transmittal 751 (Change Request 10322) (October 20, 2017), which effective November 20, 2017, will amend the Medicare Program Integrity Manual, chapter 3, section to clarify the signature requirements for persons authenticating medical record entries.